ALPHA's videotapes were not recorded at SP speed, thus picture quality suffers.
In Otto Preminger's THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM (1955), Frank Sinatra and Eleanor Parker (as Frankie and Zosch Machine) give the performances of their careers. Parker's Zosch is a bundle of nerves, a manipulative conniver who's terrorized by her own guilty conscience. Sinatra portrays heroin addict Machine as a victim of deeply ingrained bad habits, a man seemingly incapable of changing long-established patterns of self-destruction.
A first rate cast includes Arnold Stang as Frankie's pal Sparrow, a sneak thief and dognapper. Boomers best remember bespectacled Stang as the "whatta chunk-a chawklit" TV ad spokesman for [[ASIN:B0014GP4NW CHUNKY]]. He also provided the Phil Silvers-like voice of cartoon feline [[ASIN:B0002ZMHW2 TOP CAT]]. Grubby Sparrow is an odd counterpart to master card dealer Frankie. Loyal to a fault, he's always trying to bolster Machine's fragile ego.
Kim Novak's Molly, a rival for Frankie's affections, is one of two things that wheelchair-bound Zosch fears most. The other is a dirty trick Mrs. Machine has been pulling on the world ever since Frankie and she were in a car wreck. Parker's several moments of wild-eyed paranoia seem genuine; this actress knows how to immerse herself in a role and become the person she's playing.
Also here is Darren McGavin as slimeball 'H' pusher Louie. His siren song of a free first "fix" quickly lures Frankie from the straight and narrow path he found during a six months' stay at a correctional facility and put him back on the road to Hades. Robert Strauss is Schwiefka, operator of a floating card game who let Frankie take the fall during a raid, a pinch that sent "the Machine" to the state-run hospital.
Sinatra undoubtedly won his Best Actor nomination for a harrowing "cold turkey" sequence at Molly's flat. It's an astounding performance, truly his finest screen moment, ironically one that comes at the lowest point of his character's life. Also nominated was Elmer Bernstein's searing jazz score, a pounding music track that enhances an anguished, bleak reality-turned-nightmare tale, one which resolves tragically.
"Golden Arm" remains among the greatest dramas of the 1950s. Over half a century later this powerful motion picture has lost none of its potency. Credit a superb book, screenplay, cast and director for telling an always relevant story of humanity's darker, weaker side. Highest recommendation!